L’Arche was born through a close encounter between Jean Vanier, guided by a Dominican priest, Father Thomas Philippe, and two mentally handicapped men, Raphael and Philippe.

They met in 1964. A few months later, Jean Vanier, in the company of his new friends, settled into a small French village, called Trosly-Breuil, in the county of Oise. As a philosopher and retired officer from the Canadian marines, Jean had no big community projects, but a strong desire to live together and the conviction that what he was bringing into being would last…

Today, L’Arche welcomes handicapped people all over the world. In over 130 communities, spread across five continents, they share a brotherly living with men and women committed to this cause, and young volunteers who come from many different countries.

Today, in France, L’Arche communities are considered as small medico-social institutions who share a brotherly and community way of life. They are communities of faith. In France, they are grounded in the Catholic Church.


One of these communities, our community of L’Arche de la Vallée, has been blossoming in the hilly Drôme area for the last thirty years. We welcome thirty nine handicapped men and women in our five homes, spread out over Hauterives village, Châteauneuf-de-Galaure village and surroundings. Twenty five of these people benefit from our day centre. Hauterives, well known thanks to its famous primitive art “Ideal Palace” created by postman Ferdinand Cheval, is a dynamic and tourist village. Châteauneuf-de-Galaure is particularly known on a spiritual level, thanks to Marthe Robin, founder of the worldwide “Homes of Charity” movement.


L’Arche de la Vallée has a strong desire to be open to realities beyond our daily life. To concretise this desire, we have developed a twining program with L’Arche in Africa and particularly with the community of Bouaké on the Ivory Coast.


Our life, both simple and extraordinary: do you find it appealing, compelling ?

How could you take part in this life; how could you become committed ?

Don’t hesitate to ring, write, e-mail or come to visit us for further information !

Welcome ! !